The style of The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne

Essay by BahRamUCollege, Undergraduate January 1996

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The style of The Scarlet Letter is clean, precise, and effective. In the novel Hawthorne

utilizes all his writing skills. In doing this he includes a heroine. In The Scarlet Letter by

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is a victim and a heroine that is admired because of

her strong will, and disregard for other's views of her.

She comes from an impoverished but genteel English family, having lived in a

"decayed house of gray stone, with a poverty-stricken aspect, but retaining a

half-obliterated shield of arms over the portal, in token of antique gentility." But even

without that specific indication of her high birth, the reader would know that Hester is a

lady, from her bearing and pride, especially in chapter 2, when she bravely faces the

humiliation of the scaffold: "And never had Hester Prynne appeared more lady-like, in

the antique interpretation of the term, than as she issued from the prison."

It is Hester's

pride which sustains her, from that opening scene until she dies, still wearing the scarlet

A. And coupled with pride is a passion which is demonstrated not only through her

relations with Dimmesdale but also in her emotional attachment to Pearl, in her defiance

to Governor Bellingham (Chapter 8), and even in here conversations with her husband,

old Chillingworth (Chapters 4 and 14). Heater's sin (committed about a year before the

novel begins) is the sin which gives the book its title and around which the action of the

book revolves. Adultery, prohibited by the Seventh Commandment, was so seriously

condemned by the Puritans of seventeenth century Massachusetts that is was often

punished by dead. In contrast, Hawthorne does not condone Hester's adultery, but he

does find it less serious a sin that the sins of Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. Clearly,

Hawthorne sees Hester...